Killer Lonliness

Last week in my nutrition course we heard some amazing lectures about Blue Zones. If you don't know what Blue Zones are, they are communities in various places around the globe that share common lifestyle and environmental factors that contribute to their populations being among the longest-lived and healthiest on the planet. These areas were first identified and labeled by Dan Buettner of National Geographic magazine and was the featured cover story in November of 2005.

 

Sardinia, Italy. Okinawa, Japan. Loma Linda, California. Nicola Peninsula, Costa Rica. Icaria, Greece.

 

In these areas, people are found to eat a traditional, largely home grown and plant-based diet - but more important, stressed Mr. Buettner in our lecture, they share a sense of community and purpose. They have close-knit families and communities which create a strong social network of support and compassion, regular physical activity and positive and healthy lifestyles.

 

For the most part in America, and other less traditional and more modern areas, life is not like this. We survive on fast food, video games and pharmaceuticals, though this is slowly changing thanks to the good work of many including Mr. Buettner, who is introducing blue zone lifestyle concepts into smaller towns throughout the US with good success.

 

But we have a long way to go. Producing policies that limit exposure to unhealthy living like fast food restaurants, advertising junk to kids, and low quality school lunches contradicts our familiar capitalist way of life. People don't know how to make small, healthy changes not just to diet but to lifestyle and culture, or even that they might benefit from those changes. They don't realize how important community is, or how to integrate it.

 

If you are reading this though, it means you have gone out of your way to search for community. Grief is an experience shared by so many people, and yet, it's yet another thing that is often mistreated and misunderstood in our modern world. Last week, another writer here at Widow's Voice, Kaiti, expressed her frustration at feeling left so alone since her husband died, and that the community around her is telling her to essentially get over it and move on.  There were several compassionate comments on that post, including one from Sarah, another writer here, who added that she is no longer asked how she is doing, no one wants to hear about it anymore, and that it feels even lonelier as a result.

 

Our community of writers and readers is a special place. Soaring Spirits provides ways to connect and get involved to your level of comfort. There are retreats, seminars, events, and online community. And last week, I experienced an unexpected personal outreach from a reader here who I have been in touch with before, and emailed me just to check and see how I was doing, inspired by Kaiti's post, and Sarah's reply.

 

As one of the writers I have a forum to vent. And you are welcome to comment anytime. Many of you don't, and that is absolutely perfectly fine. But I want to express my gratitude that we have a space to share and support, and are surviving this together, even if we are separated by distance around the globe.

 

I am fortunate to have several very close widowed friends in my life, but not everyone does. So I ask you. Yes, you. How are you doing? I really care, and so many others of us care. I invite you to comment, message, email, reach out, or maybe inward, whatever feels right. Loneliness is perhaps the biggest killer of all - and community support is important to whole health. It is only second best to having our loves back with us, and I might not be there to hug you personally, but I send love to everyone. From my heart to yours. It matters.

 

 


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  • commented 2017-06-28 03:09:48 -0700
    Lonliness kills the people mentally and it also makes very weak. In http://www.essays-on-time.biz/, I have seen many dis advantages of loneliness and depression. I would say that in this tough time do many things and work which would keep you busy. I would suggest you to start doing some work and that would be a good time pass.
  • commented 2017-06-02 18:19:37 -0700
    Hugs Dori Capano xoxo I am at 5 1/2 yrs too. I like what you said
    “No matter how long this goes it never goes away.” People just dropped out of my life including my husband’s family so no one to talk about him to except our sons & his one brother. I’ve learned to shake it off when it gets too overwhelming. I miss him every day…
  • commented 2017-06-02 17:43:16 -0700
    Hi Stephanie, it’s been awhile since I posted any comments, but I do follow your posts regularly. I agree with everyone here, at nearly 5 1/2 years, I have built a life for myself but the feelings of loneliness and aloneness come out of nowhere, and other times it’s triggered by an event, a song, a memory. Few people ask how I am (with regards to my loss) and I can’t bring it up to people who don’t understand that no matter how long this goes, it never goes away and it never stops impacting the present. I know we widows are everywhere, but it is so hard to be a widow among so many couples. Glad I can come here and read comments and know I have company.
  • commented 2017-06-02 03:30:17 -0700
    We (loss of spouse group through local Hospice) often talk about loneliness, it seems to take hold and is always present. As one winds down at the end of the day, loneliness is constant, always there. So hard to put on that “public face” all day, and then to have face being alone at the end of it. 7 years in, yes, being busy helps, but miss my husband like he left yesterday, and only those who have had this loss really understand. That Hospice group has been a lifesaver for me, just to be with others who have experienced the love and loss (just like this site) helps, no words are even necessary. Thank you all for sharing.
  • commented 2017-06-02 00:05:47 -0700
    So, do the Camino. Who know what insights it holds.
  • commented 2017-06-01 23:49:52 -0700
    Loneliness continues to be my biggest struggle. I am so glad we have this community to share. Thank you to all the writers and everyone who reads here. It truly helps me feel not so alone.
  • commented 2017-06-01 23:25:58 -0700
    Marilyn, what an experience you have gone through. I am so sorry for your troubles. I think you are absolutely right about the driving force behind addiction. Loneliness is indeed a terrible thing and due to our widowed state, a very stark and devastating reality for many of us. Thank you for sharing and commenting and being part of the community.
    Donna, I get that. I feel that too many days, existing, not living. I’m glad you have your sons. And grateful you can come here and share and get support. Lots of love.
    Sharon, wow the Camino how awesome!! I always wanted to do that! I think that’s a great way to get out there and look for peace and purpose. Meanwhile, so sad about the date today for you. Those anniversaries are so, so hard. But as I said to Donna I am sure glad we have this place to come together. Bless you.
  • commented 2017-06-01 19:22:48 -0700
    Thank you for your post. As I’ve commented before, your posts always, always resonate with me and I should comment more often.

    Yes, loneliness is a killer. It’s 3 years today that Brian died and loneliness continues to be one of the hardest things to deal with. I haven’t done it well, although it may look like I have from the outside. Being an introvert, I’ve often chosen to be alone rather than reaching out to others which hasn’t necessarily been the best option. I often feel like I am existing, not really living. I’m walking the Camino in northern Spain this fall and hoping I will gain insight into where to from here.
  • commented 2017-06-01 17:40:14 -0700
    Thank you so much Stephanie. To be totally honest I am existing not living. I’ve found my comfort zone in staying home. Hermit if I was to be honest. My sons do their best & so love & appreciate all they’ve done for me.
  • commented 2017-06-01 14:22:52 -0700
    Yes Stephanie, loneliness is a killer. I just read an article about addiction yesterday. I have personally struggled with addiction for many years. The day my beloved died, it shocked me into quitting everything. Cold turkey. Recently I relapsed, but I believe its time has come to an end, because it just made me feel so much worse, not better.
    The author of this article said that the driving force behind addiction is loneliness, isolation, and psychological pain. More so than the urge to feel euphoria and numbness, even. Not surprising, however, the hopeful part is finding connections and sharing with others can make all the difference.
    Thank you for another excellent post that always resonates with me, and I am sure many others.